Faculty & Staff


Hujjat al-Islam Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali

Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali is a graduate of the Islamic Seminaries of Qum and has a BA and an MA in Western Philosophy from the University of Tehran. He has earned his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Manchester. He is the Founding Director of the International Institute for Islamic Studies (IIIS) and the Risalat International Institute.

About Dr. Shomali

He is very dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge and inter-religious dialogue and has attended conferences in the UK, US, Canada, Poland, Sweden, Ghana, Philippines, Georgia, Italy, Austria, Kazakhstan, Tanzania and more. For updates on Dr. Shomali’s projects, lectures and inter-faith dialogues, please visit his Facebook page.

Sh. Mohammad Ali Shomali is also married to Dr. Mahnaz Heydarpoor, who is herself a scholar and teaches at Jami’ah al-Zahra Institute. Together, they have three children, two sons and a daughter. They also have a fifteen month old grandson.

Sh. Shomali was born in Tehran. He was enrolled in a program for gifted students which usually prepared their graduates for high sciences and engineering. However, his avid quest for truth led him to a different course. At the age of 17, he decided to join the Islamic Seminary in Qum, where he believed he would be able to find the depth of knowledge he was yearning for.


  • Self-Knowledge (1996 and 2006, translated into Malay, Spanish and Kiswahili)
  • Ethical Relativism: An Analysis of the Foundations of Morality (2001, translated into Malay)
  • Discovering Shi’a Islam (7th ed. 2010, translated into twelve languages).
    This book has been translated from English into German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Persian, Swedish, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu, Albanian and French.
  • Shi‘a Islam: Origins, Faith & Practices (2003 and 2010; translated into Spanish and Swedish)
  • Principles of Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Methodology of Fiqh (2006)
  • He is a co-editor of Catholics and Shi’as in Dialogue: Studies in Theology and Spirituality (2004 and 2011) - 6 Books.
  • Catholic-Shi’a Engagement: Reason and Faith in Theory and Practice (2006 and 2011)
  • A Catholic-Shi‘a Dialogue: Ethics in Today’s Society (2008 and 2011)
  • A Selection of Ethical Texts (Payam-e Nur University, 2006)
  • Co-editor of Reason & Faith in Theory & Practice (Milesland, 2006).
  • “Revelation as Understood by Muslims’’ in Biblioteka EKUMENII (2005)
  • Co-author of An Introduction to Religious Faith (Ma‘aref, 1998)
  • “Perspective on Islamic Schools of Thought” 1. To 10. in Tehran Times (1995)

Dr. Mahnaz Heydarpoor


Dr. Mahnaz Heydarpoor began her seminary studies in Qum in 1981. She began teaching at the Jami’at al-Zahra in 1987. Her teaching experience includes Arabic grammar, Islamic history, commentary of the Qur’an, theology, morality, and world religions. She completed an MA in Religious Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2000 and a PhD in Islamic Studies at the Jami’at al-Zahra in 2015. She was also the administrator of the postgraduate affairs of the international section of the Seminary from 2002.

Dr. Mahnaz attended numerous interfaith seminars and conferences and conducted courses and delivered lectures in various countries. She authored the book Love in Islam and Christianity (2002) (which has been translated into different languages) and Love: The Heart of Islamic Spirituality (2018).


By the grace of God and under the guidance of Shaykh Mohammad Ali Shomali, the Kawthar Learning Circle has attracted the hearts and minds of dedicated volunteers, who support the needs and the development of the learning community with their sincerity and perseverance. The devotees who work countless hours behind the scenes are driven by their love for Allah (swt), find pleasure in serving His Hujjah (as) and thrive under the leadership of Dr. Shomali. Through their efforts the various departments of the KLC are upheld and maintained, be it Registration, Mubahatha, IT, Finance, Youth Track, Event Planning, Fundraisers, Marketing, Admissions, Public Relations or Transcriptions each team is motivated by the spirit of social wilayah and its practical implementation with the intention of serving the global community to the best of our abilities. Some of the KLC staff are introduced below:

Sr. Fatima A.

Sister Fatima A. has a Diploma in Special Care Counselling from Vanier College and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a Minor in Professional Writing. Sister Fatima has been an active community volunteer for the past 25 years with a focus on the youth. She has participated in numerous conferences, seminars, workshops and youth leadership retreats. Sister Fatima has been with the Kawthar Learning Circle since its inception and serves as a volunteer on the Registration, Marketing, Retreats and Youth Program teams.

Sr. Fatima S.

Sister Fatima S. worked as a Montessori director and Early Childhood Educator in a private school for many years. She then embarked on Orton Gillingham Multisensory Structured Literacy training and Provincial Instructors Diploma as a certified practitioner and trainer with Canadian Academy of Therapeutic Tutors. Fatima is now managing a centre teaching students from K - 12 with dyslexia and other learning challenges and does teacher training in the same field. Fatima joined Kawthar Learning Circle in 2016 and has since assisted in the administration and registration process for KLC students with a team. She manages reference checks and interview process where needed for the new members and helps in forming mubahatha groups, keeping in touch with them while they settle down in their studies. She’s passionate about KLC courses for her own learning and has participated in regional and international interfaith trips with Dr. Shomali and Sr. Israa. Fatima is an active member and volunteer at the Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre and learning support resource teacher at Madrasah Az -Zahraa assisting teachers with resources and conducting workshops for their professional development.

Sr. Adeelah

Sister Adeelah joined the KLC Team in 2018. She primarily handles admissions and book distribution. Sister Adeelah received her BA from Georgetown University in Finance and International Business and her MBA from INSEAD. She has fifteen years experience in various fields with Zenith Real Estate Management Inc, a real estate management company in Houston, Texas. Sister Adeelah has volunteered at the Al Sadiq Islamic Academy for the past three years.
Last modified: Saturday, 23 April 2022, 5:38 AM